The Mavs beat the Hornets

Published: December 15, 2007

Dammit, that game sucked. Not only did we get beat 80-89 by the Mavericks, but pretty much everyone played like a dog and Peja Stojakovic aggravated that groin strain again. It doesn't look good for Phoenix tomorrow.

But before we look too far ahead, let me revisit the misery of today's game…

First Quarter

It was good times at the tip, with both Peja and Morris Peterson back in action and making our starting five full strength again. But then the game started and I was no longer in my happy place. Six blank trips for the Hornets and we're down 0-7 before Byron Scott calls a timeout at the 8:23 mark.

Dallas Have started out playing some tough D, forcing us to take tough shots late in the 24. David West is having severe problems scoring on Dirk Nowitzki, going 0-of-6 from the field in the quarter. Tyson Chandler turns out to be our best source of offense, scoring seven points in the first stanza.

Hilton Armstrong is swapped in for Tyson with 3:14 left in the quarter and proves to be a massive downgrade. He gets caught out high on one play and commits a turnover trying to get rid of the rock. Chandler's absence also gives the Mavs the green light to go to the basket, and they start running in layups. Hilton doesn't intimidate quite like Tyson.

At the end of one, the Mavericks are killing us, 24-13. Our guys have missed 20 of their 25 field goal attempts, and a CP-Tyson alley-oop is our only assist in twelve minutes of play.

Second Quarter

We start out with Bobby Jackson, Jannero Pargo, Julian Wright, Rasual Butler and Mr. Armstrong. The Mavs start out with five other guys. B-Jax makes his presence felt immediately by dropping a three out of the gate.

10:25 – The Mavs' Eddie Jones laughs and jokes with Byron Scott as he inbounds the ball in the backcourt. Eddie gets a little too caught up in the joke though, and tosses in a weak pass that Bobby Jackson picks off and takes home for an easy two. 18-28 Mavericks.

6:48 – Peja follows a Rasual Butler airball with one of his own, then makes amends by giving up a three-point play to Josh Howard on the other end. No, wait, that doesn't make it better at all. 34-22 Mavericks.

6:16 and the ball gets stuck on top of the backboard off a Juwan Howard turnover. David West pokes at it with a broom handle until it comes loose. First thing he's hit all game.

4:28 – Josh Howard splits a pair of free throws for his ninth point of the quarter. A Mo-Pete turnover later, and Jason Terry tosses in a layup. It's 41-25 Mavericks, and I just threw up a little in my mouth.

3:51 – Tyson puts one down off a nice offensive board and dish by West. Our offensively-challenged pivot now has 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

The Hornets close the half with some signs of life, putting together a 10-2 run starting with that bucket by Chandler. West and Peja even get some offense working.

At the break we trail by eight, 35-43, which isn't at all bad when you consider just how awful the Hornets played for the first twenty minutes of this one.

Halftime Thoughts

  • Dallas really should have put 50 on us by now, but they're not playing great either. They've missed some wide open looks and made some completely unforced turnovers. Dirk's been struggling, too, knocking down just 1-of-5 from the field in the opening half.
  • Has anyone seen the Hornets call a play on their way down the floor? And I don't just mean this game, but any game recently? It's like our offense is just Chris reading the defense and trying to create and set someone up. Failing that, throw it in the post and see what happens. Every now and then there's a pick set for Peja down low, but that seems to be the extent of the playbook. Next practice, everyone should just watch some Spurs game tape and take notes.
  • CST plays a Chad Shinn interview with Gil McGregor, and Chad delivers the latest misspelling of Tchoupitoulas. I'm thinking it would be awesome if Peja's full name was Peja Tchoupitoulas Stojakovic.
  • Morris Peterson has looked a little fragile out there. He had a few chances to take it hard to the rack and took it soft instead. I'm guessing he's still feeling that back out.

Third Quarter

The Hornets start out decent, narrowing the gap to 45-40 after a Tyson stick back two minutes in. The pace has quickened and Peja gets hot, knocking down a 20-footer, then a deep three. Looked like a heat check. The Mavs are still up, 47-51, thanks to good work by Terry and Howard.

6:24 – Peja just missed his last two shots, but fires in another triple to pull the Hornets within one, 50-51. Chris Paul gets a steal at the other end and puts home a tough up-and-under layup. New Orleans has the lead and Dallas calls time. I have no idea how we're suddenly winning this game.

4:07 – A Jason Terry three-bomb gives the Mavs their first points in four minutes. They retake the lead, 54-57.

3:31 – Peja gives up a weak foul on Jerry Stackhouse at the baseline. It soon becomes apparent though that Peja's hurting and just wanted out of the game. Looks like that same groin injury, and that ain't good.

2:54 – CP misses a three from the corner, but zips inside to collect his own rebound. Bobby Jackson and a forgettable Maverick almost collide with him as he sticks it back in. We're tied at 54.

2:17 and Jason Terry drops another trey. I decide I never liked Jason Terry. Give him 21 points after a 17-footer a minute later.

End of the third and the Mavs are up 57-61. Better effort from the Hornets that quarter. The tempo was faster and that seemed to work for us. The rebounds started to fall our way, too, and we came away with a 14-7 advantage on the glass, and a 13-0 edge in second chance points.

Fourth Quarter

DeSagana Diop gets a pair of buckets to start the fourth. Never liked him either. Ditto Devin Harris, whose 22-footer makes it a 10-point game two minutes in.

Meanwhile, our offense is damn ugly. B-Jax falls over himself, Pargo forces a long three over a double team to beat the shot clock, Tyson fumbles a rebound out of bounds. And that was all on the same trip downcourt.

8:03 – Diop gets another one, plus the foul this time. Stay on your feet Mr. West. The free throw puts the Mavs back up by double digits, 72-62.

6:00 – Two tough calls go against the Hornets. First Devin Harris makes the most of some contact by CP to draw the offensive foul. Next trip down, and Tyson gets called for basket interference, even though the ball was clearly out of the cylinder when he tipped it back in. Killing us.

4:48 – Stackhouse gets an easy lay-in off the give and go with Dirk. Mavs up 64-78, and this is on the verge of becoming a blowout. We've scored just seven points this quarter, and Byron wants to talk about it.

3:05 – The Hornets get a scrappy basket, somehow turning a Chris Paul stumble into a David West layup. 71-80 Mavericks.

Get a stop. Get a stop. Get a stop.

2:47 – Tyson strips Dirk but gets called for a foul. Nowitzki hits one, and the Hornets manage something resembling a turtle fart on their next offense. A Stackhouse layup later and we're down twelve. That's pretty much the game right there.

1:07 – Rasual airballs a W-I-D-E open three.

0:06 – Stackhouse blocks Tyson.

Final score is 89-80 in favor of the Mavericks.

Postgame Thoughts

An awful performance. I'd give the Mavs credit for their defense, but I hate the Mavs, so let's skip that. Chris Paul had a bad game tonight. 22 points on 9-of-22 shooting isn't terrible, but he never managed to get in the lane and cause havoc. That, together with his teammates dismal shooting, meant he finished with a season-low three assists.

Pargo, Butler, Peterson and West: A combined 5-of-29 from the field. As a team, we once again had more three point attempts (19) than free throw attempts (18) 

Of course,the worst part is Peja getting hurt again. It's very unlikely that he'll be available to play against the Suns back in New Orleans tomorrow.

So the Mavs just leapfrogged us in the standings and a three-game losing streak could be a reality by this time tomorrow. Sucks. 

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